1YoT: An Overview of India

We hope you’ll permit us to jump around a little bit in our blogging. Right now, Inna and I are ~2.5 months behind, having blogged through Vietnam but already traveled through Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Nepal.

We’ve been behind blogging our entire journey; we write when we can and our blog gets to places when it gets there. This allows us to write with hindsight perspective, and more importantly, we don’t stress about quickly getting blog posts out after going somewhere.

But India is different. India is special. We’d like to write a little about India now, in the present. So if you’ll permit us, this post and the couple that follow will be about India. Then we’ll get back to where we left off, in Thailand.

So without further ado, our first India post:

An Overview Of India

India was insane. It was the craziest and the most brutal, extreme, and intense place Inna and I ever been. More than eye-opening, more than mind-blowing, India was brain shattering. It completely changed the way we look at humanity.

As I now like to say, the best thing about India is that it is so powerful it completely changes your outlook on humanity. The worst thing about India is what it changes your outlook to.

So, did we enjoy our visit here? That’s a tough one. The country is so full of extremes: it has the best destinations in the world, the best food in the world, an extremely small population of the nicest people in the world, an extremely large population of the most disrespectful people in the world, it is the loudest and dirtiest place Inna and I have ever visited, it has the worst poverty we have ever seen, it has more sexism than we have ever seen, and it also is the most unique place we have ever been.

So, again, did we enjoy our visit here? Inna can unequivocally say no. The noise, the pollution, the sexism, the disrespect: it got to her. There were several days where she refused to go out; she simply couldn’t take any more. On the last day she cracked, yelling and screaming at everyone and when I tried to stop her she broke down crying. And finally, for our first full day outside of India, she was beat; she was sick and weak and exhausted from holding everything in (thankfully this happened in Chitwan, at a resort that was staffed by the friendliest employees we‘ve encountered on our trip). Inna now says that India is where humanity goes to die.

As for myself, did I enjoy India? I don’t know. Everything that bothered Inna bothered me too, but not as much. I never felt the desire to not go out, and I saw and experienced so much. And so much of this country really is amazing. But does it balance out the bad stuff? To find out, I made a chart.

WARNING: In another (much shittier) life I was an engineer. You will see the effects of that in this post.

NOTE: Everything is ranked from -10 to 10. -10 is the worst, 10 is the best, and 0 is neutral. Numbers in bold are summations of the numbers that follow.

SECOND NOTE: The difference between personal scores and non-personal scores are that personal scores represent whether Inna and I enjoyed something or not, while non-personal scores represent whether you might enjoy that same thing. For the most part, individual personal and non-personal scores are the same; non-personal scores are only noted when they are different.

Okay, here goes:

CATEGORY

PERSONAL SCORE

NON-PERSONAL SCORE

EVERYWHERE 
Food

11

 11

Indian food

10

Quality of cooking at every single restaurant

10

Hard to get clean fruit

-2

Shitty beer

-3

Delicious ice cream

2

Cheap bottled water

1

No snack variety

-4

Couldn’t eat street food

-3

Animals

5

 5

Animals everywhere

10

Some animals malnourished/dirty

-5

Culture

10

 10

Beautiful artwork

4

Women’s clothing

1

Unique experiences

10

Religious more than spiritual, never felt part of the spirituality

-5

Society

-58

 -53

Poverty and disfigurement everywhere

-10

Poor kids begging and not in school

-10

No disfigurement amongst children

2

Trash everywhere

-5

Smelly

-6

Pooping everywhere

-4

Attitude towards women (including Inna)

-8

Almost solely men in service positions

-4

Not safe at night?

-5

Due to safety issues, we didn’t even go to New Delhi

-4

Crazy driving

-2

Traffic up the wazoo

-5

Train coverage

5

Train services, including employees

5

Nothing stolen

5

Backup hard drive lost?

-5

0

People were manipulative and untrustworthy

-10

Some people were nice and gave us hope

3

India and the world

27

 27

High majority speak English

8

Amazing exchange rate

10

Six UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited

6

Experience was life altering and brain shattering

10

Negative treatment towards foreigners

-10

Positive treatment from some towards foreigners

3

Our own health

-10

 5

Inna cracked

-7

0

Left Inna feeling so bad she got sick

-5

0

Left me feeling pretty crappy as well

-3

0

No food poisoning

7

Upset stomachs in beginning

-2

The little things

-12

 -12

No toilet paper

-3

Squatting toilets

-1

Mostly crappy showers

-1

Power constantly went out

-2

Shitty condoms

-2

Couldn’t use public wifi

-3

INDIVIDUAL DESTINATIONS    
Kochi  12 17
Positive airport experience

4

Nice hotel, nice owners, great location

6

Inna got sick

-4

0
Mostly walkable

3

Tuk Tuk racket

-4

Pushy, manipulative sellers and overpriced goods

-5

Quality goods

2

Got cool blanket

3

Age of Exploration destinations

2

Friendly business owners

3

Fun backwater tour

4

Clean, fun beach

3

Lost shirt at the beach

-1

0
Bought an even better shirt

2

Shirt shrunk after two washes

-1

No alcohol in restaurants

-2

Found great pizza place

2

Humid

-4

Men roaming everywhere, especially at night

-4

Saw our laundry being cleaned

1

Got to operate Chinese fishing net

2

Mumbai

3

-3

Loud

-9

Some quiet escapes

3

Overcrowded

-5

Amazing destinations

9

Great skyline

4

Some food diversity, even if not a lot

2

Visited friend

10

0

Fun public transit experience

3

Expensive hotel

-3

Nice hotel

5

Horrible noise experience in the nice hotel

-5

Hot

-4

Religiously diverse

5

Shitty tour operator

-9

Got scammed out of nine bucks

-4

Friendly taxi drivers

2

Crazy taxi driver

-1

Inna didn’t even want to go out on one trip

-4

0

Got to our bus out of town even though we originally went to the wrong place

4

Udaipur

6

6

Cool destinations

3

Honest locals

2

Extra crowded due to Holi

-1

Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi glasses

1

Train on time

1

Pushkar

32

32

Fact we made it at all

4

Holi

10

Walkable

5

Shitty hotel

-2

Nice showers

2

No wifi in room

-2

Friendly locals

3

Found nice middle eastern restaurant

2

Lost shirt at holi

-1

Holi clothes were cleanable and not destroyed

2

Drive from train station to Pushkar

3

Honest business owners

3

Cool religious experience

4

Pushed into religious experience that had a huge emphasis on donations

-4

Safe at night

2

Train on time

1

Jodhpur

-2

-2

Shitty train ride to get here

-4

Pretty desert that we rode through

2

Great destinations

6

Nice tour of city

3

Shitty hotel

-2

Shitty hotel employees

-4

No food diversity

-2

Not walkable

-2

Train on time

1

Jaipur

-21

-11

Loud as fuck

-10

Overcrowded

-2

Manipulative tuk tuk operators

-4

Manipulative locals/sellers

-4

Great destinations

8

Shitty hotel employees

-7

Got to feed monkeys

4

Sun temple religious experience

1

Nice tour of city

4

Mostly walkable

3

Hot

-3

Post office failure

-1

0

Met really nice guy at post office

2

No food diversity

-2

Only vegetarian food

-2

Inna didn’t even want to go out on the third day

-5

0

Electrocuted myself

-4

0

Train on time

1

Ranthambore

24

20

Tiger safari

10

Completed Winnie the Pooh collage

4

0

Nice hotel with pool

7

No wifi in room

-2

Nice hotel staff

3

Nice locals

5

Train three hours late

-3

People in our train seats

-1

Met nice people when we sat elsewhere

1

Agra

11

8

Amazing destinations

10

Taj Mahal sunset viewing location closed early

-3

Went to another sunset viewing spot but it wasn’t as good 1
Nice tour of city

5

Got cool postcards

1

A little loud

-2

Nice first night at hotel

4

Bad second night at hotel

-5

Hotel employees were weird

-2

Made a new facebook friend

3

0

Hot and blindingly sunny

-2

Found cool bbq place

2

Train one hour late

-1

Varanasi

9

13

Enjoyable overnight train

2

Diversity/international

3

Amazing Korean restaurant

3

Nice hotel

3

Walkable

2

Sunrise on the river

4

Ghat walk

2

Couldn’t find other destinations

-2

Puppies everywhere

5

Saw a dead dog just lying on the side of the road

-3

Scammed out of six bucks

-4

Narrow alleyways kept things cool

3

Narrow alleyways filled with animal poop

-5

Narrow alleyways kept horn honking away

3

Hindu religious experience

2

Inna didn’t even want to go out the second day

-4

0

Honest business operators

1

Pollution and traffic so bad we couldn’t breathe at one point

-6

Gorukphur and border

0

0

Long train delay with no explanation

-1

Nice hotel

3

Expensive hotel

-1

Nothing nearby

-1

Nice fellow hotel guest

1

Bus driver tried to overcharge us

-4

Overcrowded bus

-1

Nice bus ride despite the overcrowdedness

2

Poor border layout

-1

Easy border crossing despite layout

3

As the chart shows, India was all over the place. Food: amazing. Culture: amazing. Society: horrible. Kochi, Ranthambore, and Holi: amazing. Jaipur: horrible. So what does it add up to?

To find out, let’s run the numbers through this handy-dandy formula:

analysis equation

Using this formula, our personal score comes to -10. Not enjoyed. And our non-personal score is 0.6. Neutral.

It is interesting to note that if we eliminate how horrible Indian society is, these scores increase to 19 and 27, respectively. Both overwhelmingly enjoyed. What this means is that while much of India is amazing, it is not enough to overcome how horrible its society is.

All that being said, I would still recommend people visit India. I would simply recommend going to the Taj Mahal, going on a tiger safari in Ranthambore, celebrating Holi in Pushkar, eating lots of food, and then getting the hell out of there. Maybe go to Varanasi or Mumbai, but only if you really want to. And don’t worry that your VISA is 30 days (if you’re American) because 30 days is way too long for India. I recommend half that amount, or less. Don’t get your VISA money’s worth; it’s not worth it.

Sorry India, this may seem harsh but you deserve it.

Up next, we’ll highlight interesting stories from our trip. These stories should explain many of the above rankings; they should also give a more relatable and understandable idea of the India experience than numbers alone can do. And also, reading them will be fun! Writing them was cathartic, that’s for sure. Anyways, our India stories post is coming soon!

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